An early riser, I hit the beach at 6:30 a.m. as the first hints of an approaching new day lightened the vast eastern sky over the Atlantic waters of Daytona Beach Shores. My family was enjoying the weeklong beachy timeshare we’d loved sharing for the past 40 years, since my parents had first purchased the 30th week in July.
But they aren’t here this year. Daddy passed away two years ago and Mama just graduated to heaven four weeks ago. It seems hollow without them. The friends they’d looked forward to seeing every year during this 30th week look as forlorn as I feel without Mama, the life of every party, here to liven things up. Chuck and I are now sleeping on the bed they always slept in for decades. I keep listening for Mama’s infectious laugh, but hear it only in my memories.
I know that chapter of my life book has ended, but still, when I take my early morning prayer walk, my heart makes an unexpected leap when I glance up to see an approaching older couple down the beach, him a head taller than her and wearing a floppy hat like Daddy’s, trying to adjust his long, casual strides to keep up with her quick, purposeful powerwalk.
Mama and Daddy were big walkers and not only got an earlier start than me but they trekked much further down the beach (about 3 miles) to the same spot every time, so that when I was about halfway there, they’d meet me coming back. I’d turn around and walk back with them to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. We repeated the same comfortable routine year after year after year.
Yep, I know I’m grieving the loss of the two wonderful people who were my whole world for so long. But knowing you’re grieving doesn’t make it any easier.
As I was approaching the turn-around spot about a mile and a half down the beach – the place where I used to meet Mama and Daddy – I noticed someone was already there in the waning darkness just before dawn. It was a woman – a slim Asian woman dressed in a long flowing white garment that was very light and filmy, fluttering around her in the ocean breeze as she moved silently and elegantly to the music of the sea.
She carried a large red folding fan in one hand, using it to gracefully accentuate her dance movements as she turned and swayed and stretched her slender arms toward the glorious pink sun as it just began to burst above the horizon.
I was mesmerized. I couldn’t help but be caught up in the woman’s obvious joy in her sunrise worship dance. I found myself smiling and thinking, “Oh, wouldn’t Mama and Daddy have loved this!”
Then my next thought was, “Wow, they’re seeing the sunrise from the other side now. How much more magnificent and worshipful could that be? To be in the actual presence of the Creator of the World during one of His best presentations?”
So I smiled my pleasure and even joined in a little. When the dancer paused at the end of a movement segment and glanced up to make eye contact, I said, “You’re lovely.”
“Thank you,” she replied in a soft, sweet voice, bowing her head in equal cadence of the quiet, respectful morning.
“Your dance is as lovely as the sunrise,” I said, fanning my hands to indicate the incredible display taking place over the sea behind her.
Her smile was nearly as dazzling. “That’s why I do it,” she replied, adding a respectful bow toward the spectacular sunrise.
I have no idea if that woman was worshipping the same Almighty God that I do. But the lovely elements of her method of worship for the Creator of the earth and everything in it inspired me toward greater reverence and gratitude for the power of a new day. A new beginning. The joyful fresh start the psalmist was referring to when he cried, “Weeping will last but a night but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
So today I’m thankful that after a season of sorrow, we can look forward to joyful new beginnings.
Yep. We, too, can commence dancing with the sunrise. Powerful and beautiful and inspiring, all at the same time.
P.S. If you or someone you know feels the nudge to worship Papa God by the written word, please remember that I’m a Certified Writing Coach and would love to come alongside you to help you navigate the path to publication. Or even just to become a better writer, if that’s your goal. Check out my Can-Do Coaching page right here on my website www.DeboraCoty.com.
Why, just last week, with a little help from her BFF Deb, one of my clients had her first article ACCEPTED for publication in a national magazine. Hey, the next could be you! I’m running a fall special that I’d love to tell you about so drop me a line today and we’ll get you started toward your own literary destiny.